Black and Blue all over: Harrell injured ... again

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
One bit of business escaped us Friday: Justin Harrell, Green Bay's increasingly enigmatic former first-round draft choice, sprained his knee Thursday and sat out Friday's practice.

Harrell is listed as questionable on the injury report, although coach Mike McCarthy said he was leaning toward letting Harrell play in Sunday's game against Chicago. Still, it's another physical mishap for a player who entered the league with a history of injuries.

Harrell played in only seven games as a rookie, and a pair of back surgeries sidelined him for the entire offseason, training camp and the first six games of this season. He hasn't stood out since returning to the field, but the Packers need him to help maintain a healthy rotation among their defensive tackles.

McCarthy will make a final decision on Harrell's status Sunday morning. By that time, we'll be in place at Lambeau Field and will update you accordingly.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • The Packers have lost more yards due to penalties than any other NFL team, but McCarthy isn't overly concerned. Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal breaks down the issue.

  • The Bears are working on their defense against slant patterns, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.

  • Rookie receiver Earl Bennett hasn't gotten much of a look this season from the Bears, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. That doesn't figure to change upon the expected return of veteran Brandon Lloyd.

  • Minnesota tailback Chester Taylor is finding a niche as a receiver out of the backfield, writes Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

  • Vikings safety Madieu Williams on his latest injury, a shoulder ailment that could keep him out of Sunday's game at Tampa Bay: "It's kind of unfortunate, but there are worse things that could happen. I just have to bounce back." Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune has more details.

  • One year ago this week, Detroit was 6-2. Since then, the Lions have lost 16 of 17 games. John Niyo of the Detroit News lays out the debacle.

  • Lions offensive coordinator Jim Colletto on the debut of quarterback Drew Stanton: "I thought he did good." Colletto, as Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press points out, said two weeks ago that he was concerned Stanton would embarrass himself on the field.